IRVINE — A top Fluor Corp. official plans to travel to Kuwait to help the giant engineering and construction company negotiate contracts for rebuilding the war-ravaged country, the company confirmed Wednesday.
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), who is helping some Orange County firms seeking contracts with Kuwait, said he will ask Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, Sheik Saud Nasir al Sabah, to invite Gerald M. Glenn, group president of Fluor Daniel Inc., to visit the Middle Eastern country.
Cox, who met with Glenn on Tuesday in Washington, said he was briefed on some details of Fluor's business proposals in Kuwait but was asked by the company to keep the information confidential. Fluor officials are concerned that details of its proposal could help its competitors, he said.
It is estimated that the cost of rebuilding Kuwait will generate engineering and construction contracts worth $40 billion to $100 billion.
Fluor Daniel, the primary subsidiary of the Irvine parent firm, has "some very specific proposals they are making to the Kuwaiti government and I think they will fare very well," Cox said. The congressman said he hopes to bring as much business as possible to Orange County contractors to boost the county's employment. Fluor has assured him that "all the work they are proposing would be handled out of their Irvine office," he said.
Fluor, which has a long history of building petroleum facilities in the Middle East, seems "principally interested in getting Kuwait's oil production up and running again," Cox said.
The Kuwaiti government is giving high priority to the repair of oil fields destroyed in the Persian Gulf War because the oil revenue is needed to help pay for the country's reconstruction.
Glenn wants to visit Kuwait to facilitate negotiations made very difficult because of the destruction of Kuwait's infrastructure, Cox said. The war left Kuwait with no electricity and limited telephone service.
"It is very hard to get contracts completed because only a few phone lines are going out of Kuwait, and all the (Kuwaiti) decision-makers have gone back to Kuwait," Cox said.
Glenn declined to be interviewed.
However, Deborah Land, a Fluor spokeswoman, said Glenn plans to go to Kuwait because "you would need a company official present to conduct discussions." She said the company will not disclose anything more about the negotiations until a contract has been signed.
Cox said Fluor officials seem optimistic about the company's chances of landing a significant amount of business in Kuwait. "They said that the operational people in Kuwait were very receptive and anxious to get them aboard," he said.